MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota Football Coach P.J. Fleck announced today that Defensive Coordinator Robb Smith has been relieved of his duties.

"These decisions are always difficult, especially when they involve a close friend and colleague," said Fleck. "I want to thank Robb, Amy and their family for all the time and energy they spent helping our program grow. Robb is an elite man and will always be a dear friend of mine."

Fleck named defensive line coach Joe Rossi interim defensive coordinator, and he will lead the defense for the rest of the season. Rossi was named Gopher defensive line coach in January 2018 after working as a quality control assistant for Minnesota in 2017.

Rossi, who is from Pittsburgh, Pa., spent 2012 to 2015 at Rutgers, which included two years as the defensive coordinator. Rossi was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2014 after serving in an interim role in 2013. He was also the defensive coordinator at Maine from 2009 to 2011 and Thiel College from 2003 to 2006.